Wonderful readings on Friday evening at Storm and Sky in Liverpool from Tim Allen and J.R. Carpenter.
The visual aspects of J.R. Carpenter's work, which I won't try to describe in their complexity here, can be accessed on her marvelous website Luckysoap.com.
I came away with 3 books - 2 by Tim Allen (thanks for the freebee Tim) and JR Carpenter's Notes on the Voyage of Owl and Girl, which is a printed version of one of her web-based pieces which captured the ear very well in her performance.
A busy week coming up with readings to attend as I embark on the last week of this teaching year (all that lovely marking yet to do though!). I look forward to hearing JR Carpenter at The Other Room on Thursday 30th April 7pm and Tim Allen at Peter Barlow's Cigarette on Saturday 2nd May. Our third year students at Edge Hill will also perform pieces from their poetry portfolios during their last session on Friday. Lots to look forward to!
I’m currently writing (?two) new poems for the Peter Barlow Not the Election Special next month.
Over Easter I’ve been scratching around for what to write. Although it was great fun to do, I’ve played with writing poetry using political speeches as material before (though not to as good effect as a Tom Jenks piece I heard recently). There are also lots of sampling of politician’s speeches into rap style mash-ups at the moment which (for my practice) preempts any collage type treatments.
So I thought I’d take another approach, and in pushing on with my research project (in progress), I’ve begun exploring oral (and didactic) forms of (Medieval) poetry and of course rhetoric appears in those categories. From my reading so far, I particularly love the concept that poetry acts like song in bewitching the soul of the hearer, which links it to rhetoric which persuades by skill of composition rather than by truth. Magic...
In thinking about how to respond to the themes of politics and elections I have also been reading Susan Stewart’s wonderful book Nonsense. (Need I say more?)
It’s probably apparent that I’m taking a fairly lighthearted (though researched) look at the material I'm drawing on for these pieces even though / perhaps because I live in a staunchly Labour town which is suffering (as many places are) in this recession from lack of employment and opportunity.
But to the poetry. In drawing on an inheritance of oral forms, the first poem (now written) responds to fable as a form and it probably doesn’t give much away to say it’s called ‘The Belly and the Rose Garden’. Monty Don and Kim Yong Il both get a mention in that one.
The second (in progress) is taking inspiration from Nicander’s Alexipharmaca (though I’m struggling to find even excerpts from the text itself available online)...
So, one down and two weeks to go!
As it is, any work on paper is, at the moment, needing to be kept in inaccessible places as we have a recent addition (suitably, it turns out, called Bandit [forefront of photo below]) who likes to edit my work (with teeth). And chew pencils. And nibble fingers...
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Patricia Farrell for the Liverpool Camarade poetry project. This was my first collaboration with another writer in the flesh, so to speak, rather than (as I have done previously) a collaboration with the words of a text already made by another writer. Reflection, on the interactive process of this collaboration and the resulting piece, along with my reading for my research, has broadened my concept of what I have been calling a ‘multi-voice lyric’.
‘Touching’ or Being Next to Rather than Composite
In the process of collaborating, Patricia and I were ‘speaking’ around the same theme, responding to each others’ segments of words. However (and this was notable to a degree when we came together for a read through), I have come to realise more fully how Patricia’s words are very definitely her articulating an utterance from her consciousness (albeit in response to an utterance I have made, and drawing on subject areas in common). Ditto for me in responding to her utterance. From my reading Gerald L. Bruns ('Prologue' in On Ceasing to be Human), as separate beings we do not become composite (nor does our text) in collaboration, as, rather than being absorbed by each other as one single utterance, it is that our utterances touch. And in presenting our ‘singular pluralities’, the text ‘opens’ via its complex of dialogic relations.
Although touching the issue of identity, I think what occurs here is not a question of ownership of language - rather, an acknowledgement that the consciousness out of which the words in this collaboration emerge are separate and touch at points of our coming together to make the text. Quite differently now I see my collaboration with Mina Loy was a dialogue (rather than a monologue) singularly within my consciousness - using words that Loy had chosen and arranged into poems. Those words of Loy’s were taken into my own consciousness and (having undergone a series of transformations) re-deployed onto the space of a page. That collaboration contains the sound of Loy’s words and rhythm of her writing but does not contain her consciousness - as that has been filtered out in passing through my own consciousness. There has been a shift in thinking that my collaboration with Patricia is a touching of consciousnesses in a way the Loy piece is not (and could never be).
The separateness of voices is important to my concept of ‘multi-voiced’ in my research. The multiple of voices I have been pursuing occurs within a speaking subject rather than without. As such the term ‘multi-voiced’ is perhaps by itself misleading - perhaps a plurality which denotes a thing (singular) containing or composed of more than one (of something), would better allow my notion of ‘voices’ within a single speaking subject. Collaborating with Loy’s words was largely an encounter, a touching, with an outer world of another speaking subject which became filtered through my consciousness in the way any encounter with the outer world would be. Whereas with Patricia the collaboration (the resulting text) contains a touching of consciousnesses via complex dialogic relationships between both inner and outer worlds of both consciousnesses.
Couldn't resist bringing in a visual of Patricia (below) in her very charming (Easter) bunny ears.